Housing Accommodations

Accommodations may be arranged for students whose disabilities substantially limit their ability to live in some Columbia University housing.

Submitting a request for housing accommodations varies depending on your school. Please review the Request for Housing Accommodations forms applicable to you.

Upon submitting the appropriate form, a student must also:

  1. Submit a personal statement to DS, indicating your reason(s) for requesting housing accommodations.
  2. Submit supporting documentation to DS that is specific to your request for housing accommodations.
    1. Please note: If you are requesting housing accommodations on the basis of an asthma or allergy condition, have your provider complete the Disability Verification for Asthma and Allergies form.  For such conditions, physical letters are not accepted.

Housing accommodation requests and documentation are reviewed monthly, generally the first Tuesday of the month. Students receive a letter with the committee’s decision regarding their requests.

The housing accommodations review committee will only consider completed requests that include all required materials. Students who submit completed requests after the committee has met for any given month must wait until the following month to have their request reviewed and considered.
 

 

FAQs

How are housing accommodations determined?

In collaboration with Columbia University’s undergraduate and graduate housing departments, these accommodation requests are determined by committee on a case-by-case basis, according to documented need and prevailing standards for reasonable accommodations. Housing accommodations are made after a determination of:

  1. The student’s disability status
  2. Whether his or her disability necessitates adjustments to the living environment
  3. Available housing options.
What should I include in my personal statement?

Your personal statement should include all pertinent information to why you are requesting each specific accommodation. Your personal statement should explain to the committee members why your requested accommodations are necessary for you to live in Columbia University housing.

What if I have a serious medical condition but not a disability?

If you have a serious medical condition in which housing accommodations may be needed, you should complete the Disability Housing Accommodations Procedures as outlined on this page.

I am a graduate student but was not approved for a housing allocation and I need housing for a disability/medical condition. What should I do?

You may request a housing assignment as a housing accommodation. In order to do so, you should complete the Disability Housing Accommodations Procedures as outlined on this page.

I have a Service/Assistance Animal – do I need to request housing accommodations?

Students who wish to bring their service/assistance animal to Columbia must be approved for this accommodation through the housing accommodations process before bringing their service/assistance animal onto campus.

Please also refer to the University’s Service and Service and Assistance Animal Policy, for complete information about related policy, procedures, and expectations.

I have a Personal Care Attendant – do I need to request housing accommodations?

Students who wish to have either “live-in” or per diem personal care assistants (PCAs) must be approved for this accommodation through the housing accommodations process before bringing their PCAs onto campus.

What is the deadline for requesting housing accommodations?

The deadlines for requesting housing accommodations vary depending on your school or program, whether you’re an incoming student or are already a student at Columbia, and the semester for which housing accommodations are being requested.  The deadlines are as follows:

Columbia College and SEAS incoming first-year students:

  • May 1 for the fall semester
  • November 1 for the spring semester

All other Columbia College and SEAS:

  • February 1 for the fall semester
  • November 1 for the spring semester

General Studies undergraduate students and Graduate & Professional (Morningside) students:

  • June 1 for the fall semester
  • November 1 for the spring semester

SEAS Combined-plan transfer:

  • June 30 for the fall semester
  • November 1 for the spring semester

CUMC students:

  • Entering first-year P&S medical students: April 1
  • Entering ETP nursing students: March 1
  • Other entering, first-year students: June 1
  • Couples Housing: June 1
     
How long does it take for my request to be reviewed?

Housing Accommodation requests are reviewed on the first Tuesday of every month. Once your request is reviewed, you will receive an email with the decision letter to your Columbia email address by the end of that same week.
All requests for disability housing accommodations, along with all of the required documentation and forms referenced above, must be submitted by the following dates:

  • Incoming first year Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students: May 1st for the Fall semester and November 1st for the Spring semester
  • New Columbia Engineering Combined-plan Transfer students: June 30th for Fall semester and November 1st for Spring semester.
  • All other Columbia College and Columbia Engineering students: February 1st for the following Fall semester and November 1st for the Spring semester

While applications submitted after these dates will be accepted and considered, Columbia cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet late applicants’ accommodation needs, including any needs that develop during the semester.

What if I don’t have a disability but have concerns about my current housing situation?

Students who do not qualify for disability housing accommodations may apply for an assignment or a transfer to a location that may better address their preferences through standard housing procedures:

  1. Columbia College and Engineering undergraduate students should contact Housing Services for information on this process.
  2. Graduate students and General Studies undergraduate students should contact University Apartment Housing.
  3. Students matriculated in programs at the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) should contact the Office of Housing Services.
What if I have allergies/asthma?

For those students requesting accommodations related to allergies/asthma, a Verification of Disability Form for Asthma and Allergy Conditions must be completed by your doctor.

If I am requesting academic/classroom/campus in addition to housing accommodations, do I need to submit separate documentation?

If your need for academic/classroom/campus accommodations is directly related to your need for housing accommodations, you do not need to submit separate documentation but rather your documentation should address the need for all requested accommodations.

If your need for academic/classroom/campus accommodations is unrelated to your disability-related need for housing accommodations, then separate documentation is required to appropriately address the non-related requests.
 

Do I need to register with Disability Services to request housing accommodations?

You do need to submit the Registration Form if you are only requesting housing accommodations.  Should you require academic/classroom/campus disability accommodations, you must submit the Registration Form to make such requests.

I have a service animal, what do I need to know about bringing it to campus?
How do I request disability-related housing accommodations?

Disability-related housing accommodations are modifications to the residential environment for students whose disabilities substantially limit their ability to live in Columbia’s traditional housing arrangements. These accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis, according to documented need, and prevailing standards for reasonable accommodations. Housing accommodations are granted after a determination of the student’s disability status and a determination that his or her particular disability necessitates adjustments to the living environment. For more information, please see the Housing Accommodations page.

Last updated April 28, 2014